Mr. Musk, the chief executive of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, announced Thursday a $1 million donation to build a new science museum at Wardenclyffe, in Long Island, N.Y., in honor of the legendary inventor.
Musk made the donation after receiving a tweet from Matthew Inman, a cartoonist at Oatmeal.com, reported Time Magazine. Mr. Inman’s digital comic strip, which argued that Mr. Tesla was “the greatest geek who ever lived,” launched a crowdsourcing campaign on Indiegogo to save the inventor’s laboratory at Wardenclyffe.
Despite the grassroots funding, the center still needed $8 million to continue with renovations. Inman then made a direct pitch to Musk.
The laboratory is where Tesla constructed a 187-foot transmission tower in order to experiment with wireless messaging and transmission.
The future Tesla Science Center will “feature his inventions and their impact on peoples’ lives today,” said museum officials, as reported by Livescience.
Tesla was a brilliant inventor who in the late 19th century made many discoveries in the field of electricity and wireless transmission. He is also responsible for the advent of alternating current, which is the default form of electric power delivered to residences and businesses. AC is higher voltage and can transmit electricity over far greater distances than Edison’s direct current system.
Tesla worked for Edison and according to legend, his boss promised a reward of $50,000 for research on improving his direct current motor. After Tesla labored night and day for months and coming up with his AC design, Edison reneged on the deal.
Tesla failed as a businessman and ultimately died penniless in a New York hotel room. With Musk's donation, Tesla’s legacy will be honored.
The Tesla center will also host a hacker lab, an innovation wing where inventors can build prototypes of their ideas, as well as a Tesla car “supercharger” station.
"We're happy to be gathered at the laboratory of Nikola Tesla, the person we've come to celebrate," a museum official said on Twitter. "Thank you, Elon Musk!"